Conference Matthijs Maris at work

On the occasion of the large Matthijs Maris exhibition (6 October 2017- 7 January 2018) at the Rijksmuseum, a one-day conference will be held to present the results of a technical research of Matthijs Maris’s paintings. This research was undertaken by an interdisciplinary team of conservators, technical art historians, scientists and art historians in preparation of the exhibition.

young The Young Cook, Matthijs Maris, 1871. Oil on canvas, 33 x 21 cm. Private collectionThe team examined paintings from the collection of the Rijksmuseum, the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, and a private collection with selected research techniques. The results will be published in: Erma Hermens, Laura Raven and Suzanne Veldink, Matthijs Maris at Work, Rijksmuseum 2017, to be published October 2017.

In the conference the results and conclusions of this technical research will be presented in focus and in a wider context. There will be a series of lectures during the morning session. In the afternoon we will visit the exhibition and address specific issues and works.

Speakers will include a.o. members of the Rijksmuseum research team, Whistler-specialist Prof dr. Margaret MacDonald (Glasgow University), Corot-specialist Sarah Herring (National Gallery London) and Pippa Stephenson and Suzanne Ross (both of The Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museum).

Matthijs Maris

Matthijs Maris (1839-1917) was one of the most eccentric artists of the 19th century, both in his imagery and in his studio practice. Taught in the romantic tradition at the academies of The Hague and Antwerp, he first followed in the footsteps of his older brother Jacob by painting in the realist manner of The Hague School. Both his brothers Jacob and Willem became very successful landscape painters, but Matthijs chose another route: he was first stimulated by an encounter with German romantic art, and later by the paintings of Corot, Whistler and the English Preraphaelites. Gradually, he rejected painting subjects from nature or the visible world, and strove to depict his own spiritual ideas—‘conceptions’ as he called them—on both canvas and paper.

nieuwe The Nieuwe Haarlemse Sluis on the Singel, Known as ‘Souvenir d’Amsterdam’, Matthijs Maris, 1871. Gift of the heirs of W.J. van Randwijk, The HagueMaris adapted his techniques to this new direction, which he described as ‘non-material’. To deny any suggestion of tangible reality, he often painted in many layers, using unconventional methods and instruments, forcibly erasing his charcoal and watercolour, occasionally to the ground itself. Partly through his choice of materials and technical practice, Maris developed a very idiosyncratic style.

This conference will offer new knowledge and insights to the conservator dealing with Maris’s work, to the owners of his paintings and drawings, and to anybody interested in the artist and late 19th-century studio practice. The discussion of his work in the exhibition rooms will offer plenty of opportunity for the exchange of further knowledge.


Download programme (pdf)

The research and publication Maris at Work are made possible by Stichting Victor Heiloo/Rijksmuseum Fonds.
The exhibition Matthijs Maris is made possible by Stichting Victor Heiloo/Rijksmuseum Fonds, Fonds 21, J.A.J. en M.A. Risseeuw Fonds/Rijksmuseum Fonds, Stichting Gifted Art and an anonymous bequest.


14 December 2017


Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Registration is no longer possible.